Leeds United could be set to lose out on one of their brightest young talents.
Rumours are swirling that indicate Everton are highly interested in swooping in for Leeds starlet Tom Pearce.
Pearce left the Everton academy four years ago in order to further his development, but it sounds as though the Toffees would like to bring him back to Merseyside.
Pearce emerged late in the season as a viable option for Leeds, making five appearances for the first team in the latter stages of the campaign.
Everton have visions of the 20-year-old Pearce as the potential successor at left back to the aging Leighton Baines. Bournemouth are another Premier League side with registered interest, as manager Eddie Howe has made signing a new left back a priority heading into the summer window.
While there are many betting sites to choose from, most of them won’t list Everton as a legitimate Premier League contender next season without a dramatic roster overhaul this summer. Adding a little-known player like Pearce wouldn’t do much to improve those odds, but the Ormskirk-born player would still be a potential upgrade on the left side of the defense in the long term.
With Premier League sides buzzing around Pearce, Leeds are reportedly concerned about losing the influential young talent. Pearce is the only player among Leeds’ first-team regulars to be out of contract in the summer. However, the Whites are interested in inking the player to a new long-term deal in order to keep him at Elland Road on a long-term basis.
Pearce was given a chance when first-choice left back Laurens De Bock struggled in terms of both form and fitness. While Leeds didn’t enjoy the campaign they might have hoped, the play of Pearce was one of the few bright spots.
Leeds are expected to hold talks with the player and his representatives this week and are prepared to offer him a new, higher salary. While Leeds clearly value Pearce as a talent, the club’s management team has yet to meet Pearce’s inflated asking price, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post.
If Pearce were to move on to a bigger club, Leeds would not lose him for nothing. The Championship side would receive a compensation fee if Pearce were to leave for greener pastures in the summer. In light of the Charlie Taylor scenario from last summer in which the player left for Burnley, Leeds would certainly prefer to keep Pearce in the mix, at least for now.
While Pearce may understandably be tempted by a move into the Premier League, perhaps the cautionary tale of Luke Garbutt may be enough to make him think twice. Garbutt left Elland Road for Goodison Park back in 2009 before he had established himself with Leeds. Garbutt showed flashes of potential, but his career has largely stalled since moving to the bigger club.
Garbutt has made just five Premier League appearances for Everton since leaving Leeds.
Do you think Leeds can keep hold of Pearce? Have your say in the comments below.